Ex-Chelsea star Pat Nevin defends decision to appear on BBC 5 Live after Gary Lineker’s MOTD axing
PAT NEVIN has defended his decision to appear on BBC Radio 5 Live’s football coverage yesterday after Gary Lineker’s Match of the Day axing.
The Beeb’s sports coverage was decimated over the weekend, as pundits, presenters and commentators backed Lineker in his row with the Corporation.
GettyPat Nevin appeared on BBC 5 Live yesterday[/caption]
PAGary Lineker was suspended by the BBC last week[/caption]
Match of the Day ran for just 20 minutes on Saturday night without commentary, a host, studio analysis or even its iconic theme tune.
This came after Football Focus, Final Score and much of BBC Radio 5 Live’s coverage had been cancelled earlier in the day.
Some normality was restored yesterday, with Newcastle’s win over Wolves being broadcast on BBC 5 Live.
Commentator John Murray the situation as having caused “an extremely difficult and challenging weekend for all of us”.
Nevin, 59, said: “Freedom of speech means you get to speak.
“That’s why I went on Stephen Nolan last night, World Service this morning. I don’t engage in social media so this is the platform we have to start speaking on and get through this.
“There’s a dichotomy between free speech for us and due impartiality of the BBC, we know that. It’s where you draw the lines, and that line’s been far too blurred for the staff and the public.
“We need clarification, contracts must be clearer, it’s unfair on everyone – from Gary Lineker to every match reporter.
BETTING SPECIAL – BEST SPORTS BETTING APPS IN THE UK
“There must be a debate, there must be consultation, not just edicts from on high.
“It’s madness that I can be asked to go on a BBC political programme, yet I’m not allowed to have an opinion outwith that. It doesn’t make sense.”
On how the BBC can proceed, Nevin added: “I happen to stand on roughly the same hill as Gary Lineker, but we have to understand that if we have stringent opinions and other alternative – and indeed opposite – opinions, they would have to be allowed.
“That is not easy for an impartial organisation like the BBC to cope with. I’m going to talk about this for a long time to come, we’ve got to debate it – the future and direction of this organisation, possibly under threat institution, could depend on this.
“It’s about getting on and getting it right from hereon in. I could go on, I won’t, we’ve got a game of football here to talk about.”
Lineker, 62, was pulled from hosting duties following his tweet likening Suella Braverman’s language while unveiling the Government’s small boats plan to that of 1930s Germany.
He is set to return to presenting duties for the BBC’s live televised FA Cup quarter-finals next weekend, after striking a deal with his employers yesterday.
The Beeb are set to show Manchester City vs Burnley next Saturday and Brighton vs Grimsby on Sunday afternoon.